Friday, May 6, 2016

Resources for Parents

This resource guide is for any Christian parent who wants to actively, deliberately share their faith with their child. It assumes that parents want to have an active, living, growing, becoming faith, and to pass this faith on to the next generation. Emphasis on want. It isn't about thinking that you've become, that you've arrived, that you know all the answers, and are content to just slide the rest of the way home.

Books for Parents To Read Themselves

Why Christ Came: 31 Meditations on the Incarnation. Joel R. Beeke & William Boekestein. 2013. Reformation Heritage. 108 pages. [Source: Bought]
Each chapter states one reason why Christ came. That one reason may be drawn from one text of Scripture--or several verses. Each chapter directs readers back to the heart of the gospel. I think that believers should preach the gospel to themselves daily. Believers need to dine daily--find refreshment--from the gospel. The gospel may seem basic and simple at first, but, there is depth, substance, a certain RICHNESS to it that leaves one speechless.

Experiencing the Trinity: The Grace of God for the People of God. Joe Thorn. 2015. Crossway. 144 pages. [Source: Library]
The book is fifty devotionals celebrating the Trinity. The first part focuses on God the Father. The second part focuses on God the Son. The Third part focuses on God the Holy Spirit.

Family Worship. Donald S. Whitney. 2016. Crossway. 64 pages. [Source: Review copy]
The book is NOT a guilt trip. He stresses the simplicity of it. You don't have to prepare a lesson--either formal or informal. You don't have to do study and research before you begin. You don't have to have all the answers to the questions your family might ask. You just have to be present in the situation with a Bible in hand. Open up the Bible, read a chapter or two to your family aloud, talk about what you've read, share prayer requests and pray, and sing one or possibly two songs together--with or without accompaniment. The hardest part may just be establishing the routine in the first place--creating a new habit and making it a priority. But family worship itself--it isn't that hard.

Give Them Truth: Teaching Eternal Truths to Young Minds. Starr Meade. 2015. P&R Publishing. 208 pages. [Source: Review copy]
What is the message? Parents need to actively, deliberately teach their children the Christian faith. Fill their minds with knowledge about God and about the Bible. Give Them Truth is divided into three sections. The first section focuses on WHY our children need to know. The second section focuses on WHAT children need to know. What truths do children need to be taught? The third section focuses on HOW to help our children know. This last section is perhaps the most practical. How can parents begin to instruct their children? What practical steps or guidelines should be followed to begin the journey?

The Whole Story of the Bible in 16 Verses. Chris Bruno. 2015. Crossway. 144 pages. [Source: Library]
The book is a good choice for believers of all ages who haven't "mastered" the contents of the Bible, and, who want to know what it's all about it. That is most people, I imagine. For few, I imagine, would reckon themselves masters of the Word of God. If you've never read the Bible, or, if you've read the Bible two or three times, there's a good chance that this book will help you out either by teaching or refreshing.

Books for Parents to Read and Share With Children

The Big Picture Story Bible. David R. Helm. 2004/2010. Crossway Publishers. 456 pages.
The text is simple and direct--without much fuss and nonsense--yet it is profound too. (I liked how the narrator speaks directly to readers. Asking them to participate in the story. I thought that was a great touch.) I liked the stories Helm included. I liked how the stories were presented. How they all tied together. I also liked the balance between text and illustration.
There is a definite theme to this bible storybook collection. Dare I say it? It's evangelical! I remember Mike Abendroth of Bethlehem Bible Church preaching a sermon called The Gospel in Twelve Words.These are twelve key words--organized under four questions--that can "help" you spread the gospel.
Reading The Big Picture Story Bible, I was reminded of this sermon, of this outline. For in this book, we see a clear presentation of man and God. Of man's need for a Savior. Of God's loving care and provision. Of the BIG PICTURE of the Bible. So the stories are presented as being part of one BIG story. Everything is connected. Yet it isn't forced.
Who is God? Creator. Judge. Savior.
Who is Man? Fallen. Sinful. Foolish.
What Did Jesus Do? Redeemed. Reconciled. Resurrected.
What Did Jesus Command? Believe. Repent. Follow. 

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Deluxe Edition. Sally Lloyd-Jones. 2009. Zonderkidz. 352 pages.
I think what makes this one work--really work--is how Sally Lloyd-Jones has every story whisper His name. Her ability to connect each story with the Big Story, keeps everything in perspective, keeps everything connected and relevant. It also helps that she's a good storyteller! She has a definite way with words! She keeps the stories on a child's level, but yet, the stories are beautifully and compellingly told. 

The Child's Story Bible. Catherine F. Vos. (1938, 1949, 1958,) 1969. Eerdman's Publishing Company. 733 pages.
The Child's Story Bible is one of the most complete story collections I've read. It features 110 stories from the Old Testament; The Child's Story Bible features 92 stories from the New Testament; these stories are taken from Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, and Revelation. This story collection is so thorough that it almost feels more like a paraphrase. It includes so much more detail than most other children's story book collections I've read. The Child's Story Bible could never be a substitute for the Bible, but it could be a good way to introduce the narrative content of the Bible to readers of all ages. The book summarizes and instructs. It adds details, makes conclusions, and seeks to create teachable moments. The book can be creative, descriptive, unique. In an old-fashioned, comfortable way. I love how evangelistic (gospel-oriented) it is. I would definitely recommend this one! 

 For Such A Time As This. Angie Smith. Illustrated by Breezy Brookshire. 2014. B&H. 256 pages. [Source: Review copy]
What did I love about it? I loved the balance of text and illustration. The stories felt full, or, I suppose a better word might be rich. Some story books are so concise that all stories are made to fit on a two-page spread. The stories feel complete, whole. Each one just the right length. For Such A Time As This is perfect for mothers and daughters to read together. (Though dads and daughters could read as well!!!) The book is subtitled "Stories of Women from the Bible, Retold for Girls." But honestly, I think parents could read it/share it with sons and daughters. 

The Biggest Story. Kevin DeYoung. Illustrated by Don Clark. 2015. Crossway. 132 pages. [Source: Review copy]
I think this is a book for readers of all ages. One reason is that everyone needs to know the Bible, that the Bible tells one BIG story, and the Bible really fits together well. It is not a mishmash of random stories and lists. The Biggest Story is a clear presentation of the bible's gospel message. How we were created in God's image. How humans sinned and became separated from God. Why the law was given, and, yet, how we could never keep all of the law. Why we needed a Savior who was both God and man. Just to get started by mentioning a few basics! (I do get excited when I start thinking about the gospel.) I think readers--believers and unbelievers--could use a little clarity as to what it is Christians believe.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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